EP 14: Consenting to Grief as a Leadership Practice with Dean Nelson, PhD

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2020

Grief is inevitable when you’re all-in on life and the relationships in it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is the cost of a life full of love and meaning. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And yet, we do not grieve well in our country. We actually do not have a good relationship with emotions, in general. A lot of this has to do with decades of messages around what is the ‘correct’ way to show up in our work and life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Grief is a powerful and important teacher but the push back to not feel it or express it is real. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You get the mixed messages: It’s ok to feel your emotions. And please keep that away from your work.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
But feeling through grief is a necessity to leading well. And it’s especially true right now as the various forms of loss and subsequent grief continue to show up in our lives right now. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Permission to feel the tsunami of grief that comes when it wants and levels how it pleases is an important leadership practice. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You know leading w/ vulnerability is the path. And you also feel the push back from those who think feeling grief and other painful emotions are too ‘personal’ for professional environments. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 

My guest today - who is also a fellow Minnesotan and my Sunday School teacher - knows the many forms of grief well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And he has dared to be all in with feeling through his losses and the losses of others who have touched his life while continuing to step up in all the spaces he leads. 

Dr. Dean Nelson is the Founder and Director of the Journalism Program at Point Loma Nazarene University, Founder and Host of Annual Writer's Symposium By The Sea, author of Talk To Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like A Pro and of God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World.

I am so excited to share this conversation with you and give you a glimmer of what I have experienced weekly for years.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Dean viewed his work while navigating recent and deeply personal losses
  • The ways grief can show up in our physical bodies
  • Dean’s conscious choice to empathize—not harden—in the face of a tragic story he was the first on the scene to cover
  • How deep grief impacted how Dean leads in his work as a journalist, journalism professor, and university department head

Learn more about Dean Nelson:

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